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Using Big Data Still a Challenge for Marketers

Big data is changing business strategy, but marketers find it difficult to handle the information

March 26, 2014

When KPMG asked CFOs and CIOs around the world about big data and business strategy last summer, more than half said it was changing everything. How is that happening—especially when marketers report struggling with actually using big data?

The KPMG survey found that the top change to business strategy the C-suite was making was just along those lines: Nearly half were simply increasing their capacity for dealing with big data, whether that meant adding human or physical capital.

Management buy-in was important for about two respondents in five, but a comparatively small 25% were actually putting any big data-related insights into practice.

Business Strategy Changes Made by CFOs and CIOs Worldwide in Response to Big Data, Aug 2013 (% of respondents)

The benefits are expected to include analyzing more data, faster—helping to find “insights that would otherwise have been missed,” as well as other improved efficiencies.

But the future is still just that. According to data management decision-makers surveyed by Experian Data Quality in December 2013, contact data was the most important for marketing success, followed by sales and demographic data. But there’s a host of information that business executives say they don’t have available to them for use in email marketing programs, for example, according to November 2013 polling by StrongView in conjunction with SENSORPRO.

Most Valuable Data that Business Executives Worldwide Are Currently Unable to Use in Their Email Marketing Campaigns, 2013 & 2014 (% of respondents)

Even consumer packaged goods (CPG) firms, relatively experienced in dealing with sophisticated shopper insights, have difficulty processing some kinds of retailer data that could paint a more detailed picture of customer behavior. Less than one-third of US CPG marketing executives reported in October 2013 that they were “highly able” to process transaction-level data, according to research from the Path to Purchase Institute and Shopper Marketing.


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